President Donald Trump, who had just proposed slashing the National Institutes of Health's budget for next year by 20 percent, suggested an immediate $1.2 billion cut to the agency Tuesday.
There's still not a proper budget to run the country this year. Congress passed a kind of holding measure called a continuing resolution at the end of last year and left the real work for after Trump took office.
Trump laid out a vague plan for 2018 earlier this month, and on Tuesday the White House released ideas for this year's budget. Congress is responsible for spending bills, but whoever's president usually lays out a plan for the House and Senate to follow.
Congress, however, has in general been supportive of medical research spending.
The 2017 budget year ends in October. Trump's plan for this year would mean agency heads will have to move funding from programs that are already under way.
"His focus is on cutting science programs," Charles Kieffer, Democratic staff director on the Senate Appropriations Committee, told a panel at the Bipartisan Policy Center on Tuesday.
"They are forcing these rob-Peter-to-pay-Paul decisions that will have consequences for a generation," Kieffer added.
The Trump proposals would slice $1.2 billion from a $31.6 billion NIH budget as it was laid out in the December continuing resolution. They also target health and science programs across other government agencies, including plans to:
- Take $350 million from the National Science Foundation's $6.9 billion budget
- Cut $37 million from the Department of Energy's $5.3 billion worth of science programs
- Excise $48 million from the Environmental Protection Agency's research and development budget of $483 million
- Cut in half the $101 million Teen Pregnancy Prevention program
- Reduce Food and Drug Administration staff spending by $40 million
- Cut domestic and global HIV/AIDS programs by $100 million plus cut the Presidential Emergency Program for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) $4.3 billion budget by $242 million
- Completely delete the $72 million Global Health Security fund at the State Department and cut other global health programs by $90 million and $62 million for global family planning
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price is scheduled to appear before the House Committee on Appropriations Wednesday to explain the proposals.